PHABRIK Magazine

Unmasking a Century of Beauty

March 2011

– Make up / concept : James Kershaw
– Photography / Digital Art: Ernest at Studio-e.ca

The 20th century was an era of dramatic and rapid change in the world of beauty. Phabrik Beauty looks at five decades, referencing four from the history books and hypothesizing what might occur in the decade ahead. The eras chosen were those deemed to have produced the most iconic and easily identifiable beauty trends. The worlds of art and cinema have always had great influence on what was determined to be modern and attractive in each era. The 1920s saw the rise of screen stars as beauty icons. Clara Bow, Gloria Swanson and Greta Garbo were the great beauties of the day and all wore the dramatically thin, arched and penciled brow, the “beauty” mark, and the “cupids bow” lip. Beauty pioneers like Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein appeared on the scene and innovations such as the powder compact, powder rouge, nail lacquer and long wear lipsticks were first introduced during this time. Magazines, movies and that new technology…television…all spread the word of new beauty ideals to the masses during the 1950s. Femme Fatales like Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren wore the full, painted brow, the emphatically elongated liquid liner with false lashes, the bright red lip, and the beauty mark also made a return engagement. Helena Rubinstein developed the first modern mascara wand in 1957. The Swinging 60s was truly THE decade of change with popular culture playing an important role in shaping what was considered modern and attractive. The “British Invasion” not only referred to the music scene but also to the many influential fashion and beauty icons that came from the region. Vidal Sassoon’s cutting edge, revolutionary cuts, and Mary Quant’s development of the miniskirt, hot pants and her own line of cosmetics created worldwide excitement. The most famous model in the world at that time also hailed from the region, Twiggy, the 5’6’’, 90 pound waif took the fashion world by storm. Twiggy’s petite heart shaped face, was dominated by huge eyes made even more expressive with false lashes, inky eye liner and an array of shimmering pastel eye shadows paired with a pale glossy pout. The1970s had its own versions of what was considered beautiful. As a reaction to the natural, make up free hippy vibe of the late 60s that overlapped into the early seventies, the latter part of the decade saw a rather aggressive, strong make up look develop. Disco and punk, although wildly different, both had profound effects on beauty culture. Cheeks were emblazoned with slashes of colour often combined with dark contouring, and intensely pigmented and shimmered shadows, elongated eyes lined with inky black kohl pencil and brilliant, heavily glossed and often obviously lined and defined mouths were the order of the day. The look was further brought into the limelight by the hottest fashion photographers and designers of the day. Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin and Chris Von Wangenheim shot layouts and ad campaigns for the houses of Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior and Charles Jourdan with models wearing the look often accessorized with either sleek pulled back or enormous masses of crimped hair. This season’s Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs ad campaigns are excellent examples of the look mildly updated for 2011. The 80s, 90s and the first decade of the 21st century have been mostly filled with looks referenced from the past. What will the next decade bring? Asymmetry, the absence of eyebrows, unusual colour placement such as aqua blue lips and fuchsia lined eyes? Modern cosmetic technologies along with pop culture and fashion icons like Lady Gaga pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable gives hope that maybe something new and exciting will happen in the world of beauty in the next ten years. Only time will tell.


Michael Kaye | Sid Neigum Guangzhou Opera House by Zaha Hadid Architects
Michael Kaye | Sid Neigum
Guangzhou Opera House by Zaha Hadid Architects


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